Back in Iceland nearly 2 months.
The theme of this time period has been aeroplanes I think.
It all started when I tried to leave the country before Christmas. I don't think it wanted me to leave. The snowstorm at Keflavik was the worst I'd ever seen up to that point (although now I've been in worse, but that's for later). The problem was not (so much) taking off, but landing, which the plane that was supposed to come get us couldn't do. So it got diverted to the east and finally went back to...wait for it...Scotland. This all took a considerable amount of hours, me all the time enjoying the hospitality of Keflavik airport (and luckily the company of an Irish guy I'd met maybe 3 days before).
Then we checked the internet, and discovered the fog that was grounding air traffic in London. Well, I thought, maybe I won't be home in time for Christmas (this was the 21st December). Eventually, we were offered either a hotel for the night and a try-again-tomorrow, or a chance to get on a flight to London with another company to a different London airport. Fine, I'll get on that one!
"I might be able to get on a flight to Heathrow, can you pick me up there instead?"
"Just let me know when you board!"
I boarded around 8pm, having been scheduled to leave around midday.
We applauded the pilot when he landed at the other end.
Back in Weymouth: 3am.
Christmas was...awkward. I didn't feel like I belonged. To see so many people all pushing about the streets. I loved seeing all my friends, but I was glad to get back to Iceland.
Flight back was seamless, and from the plane window Iceland looked like one giant glacier. The midday sun, still with a warm glow, slanted into view as the aeroplane banked, and glinted off the white expanse of mountains. Makes my soul calm.
In the first week back it snowed nearly every day, until it was up to the level of the time it snowed all night last semester. Me and Jukka made a GIANT snowwoman - she took us nearly 3 hours and we cleared the snow in our back yard :-)
Then Jukka left, back to Finland, and we haven't heard from him since. He was going to go to the Blue Lagoon then walking to the airport...who knows...I guess he made it...
Classes started, some new faces appeared, some old faces were absent. A new english girl joined our troop, so I'm not alone anymore. It's not necessary, but it is comforting.
Then we planned our great trip to Greenland.
Organised basically by one guy, this is how it's supposed to be:
So we booked up, me, Eemeli, Sebastian, Elena, and 3 other Spainards, 27th Jan- 3rd Feb.
The day arrives very soon, and we race to the airport with the demeanour of excited children. We meet Johann, the guy who organises the trips, and he gives us several things to give to our contact in Greenland.
One he tells us to bury deep in the luggage.
"It's illegal to take this into Greenland, but we do it all the time."
So we're smuggling for the guy; we don't ask any more questions.
There's a slight delay on the flight, some dodgy weather at the other end, but soon we're on our way.
Our plane had propellers, and only holds around 20 people. But they did serve a light breakfast! I am terrified; I crush Sebastian's hand the whole way.
"Ladies and Gentlemen we will shortly be landing at Kukusuk. The local time is..."
What we (and he) didn't know was, he was lying. In fact, we descended into a low cloud that we had seen mountains poking through just before...then suddenly jerked right back up into the sky again. I've never felt so sick and disorientated in my life. I think it happened maybe 2 or 3 times; it was impossible to land safely.
So we flew back to Reykjavik.
The longest and worst plane flight of my life! I think I would have passed out or gone mad if I hadn't been with friends (thanks Sebbe!)
Back in Reykjavik, we dejectedly buy a pizza and go to bed miserable. No flights go anywhere on Sunday, so we have to wait until Monday at least.
Monday: Flight cancelled due to bad weather
Tuesday: Exactly the same thing happens as Saturday. We fly to Greenland....and back again. Now the Spainards have to give up - they have other commitments. They get refunds, and me, Seb and Eemeli decide if we want to try and go just the 3 of us.
Wednesday: Flight cancelled due to bad weather.
Thursday, 1st Feb: We finally make it to Greenland!
This was the one day of fine weather we had the whole week. No, that's a lie, it was fine the day we wanted to fly out the next Wednesday.
So, before Christmas, it seemed Iceland didn't want me to leave. Now it was clear Greenland didn't want me there!
But we did have a great time. The hut was awesome (although there was no running water - we had to fetch it every day from a well in front of the house). And it shook violently when the snowstorms raged. Snowstorms like this, on our second day:
Where else could you do that?
The villagers often wanted to offer us things, bone crafts, seal skin, a dip in their bath... foreigners mean opportunity. But most fun were the children, who we were ambushed by on more than one occassion. They were rough and unbreakable, we all flung each other around in the snow for hours.
And on the last day, our contact took us to the airport by dog sled (the weather had been too bad to go on the planned trip to the glacier this way).
All in all, it was one of the most memorable things I've ever done, and even though I had the equivalent of 3 terrifying round trip flights, I don't regret a thing :-)
Incidentally, you can see many more great pics from the trip here:
And also check out a video Sebastian made about our first semester!:
Phew, my arms hurt, next time I won't wait so long before making an update!